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GM potato variety could deflate GMO myths’ bubble in Uganda

Uganda is steadily progressing towards having a potato that will not require chemical spraying. This is because scientists at the National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) and International Potato Center have developed a late blight resistant variety, Vic 1, from the popularly grown susceptible Victoria variety. According to Dr. Alex Barekye, who is the director of Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute in Kabale District, this new variety has shown great results in…

Tackling Resistant Pink Rot

Ridomil has been the standard fungicide for managing pink rot for many years. However, a national survey shows Ridomil-resistant pink rot is becoming more common. Fortunately, Canadian research has identified effective alternatives for managing resistant populations. “The issue of pink rot resistance came to a head in the early 2000s, when different potato production regions in the U.S. were finding some resistance to Ridomil, which has the active ingredient mefenoxam as they…

Potato blight’s chemical attack mechanism explained

A team of international researchers headed by scientists from the University of Tübingen has deciphered the workings of a cytolytic toxin, which is produced by some of the world’s most devastating crop diseases. The Cytolysin is manufactured by pathogens such as bacteria and fungi and can wipe out entire harvests if chemical protection is not used. The study – by researchers from Tübingen and their partner institutions in Berkeley, Bordeaux, Ljubljana, Liége…

Potato growers benefit from not planting potatoes

There are plenty of complex topics potato growers need to understand to run a profitable business, but when it comes to outputs there are two simple measures of success growers strive for that are easy to understand – high yields and high quality. Every decision a grower makes has an impact on those outcomes, which starts with selecting crops to plant in a given field. Developing a crop rotation plan based not…

Tasmanian potato growers preparing for the worst

Surveillance programs for tomato potato psyllid (TPP) are being ramped up in Tasmania as growers try to delay any incursion of the pest for as long as possible. TPP was detected in Western Australia (WA) earlier this year. Free sticky trap packs are being distributed by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture to growers and agronomists to set up around the perimeter of susceptible crops, particularly potatoes, Tasmania’s biggest vegetable crop. The institute’s…

War and Peace, Verticillium Style

Verticillium dahliae, a soil-borne fungus, causes wilt, yellowing, necrosis and early dying in potato. This yield-robbing pathogen is tough to manage, has a broad host range, and is known to survive in the soil for up to about five years. Potato cultivars with improved resistance to Verticillium would be a great tool for growers. Now, research into the complicated interactions between potato plants and this pathogen has come up with a more…

Zebra chip pathogen detected in psyllids in Alberta

Although the zebra chip pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (Lso) has been detected in small numbers of potato psyllids in two sites in Alberta, no zebra chip symptoms or pathogen has been found in potato plant tissue. During three years of sampling for potato psyllids (Bactericera cockerelli) across Canada, the Canadian Potato Psyllid and Zebra Chip Monitoring Network found small numbers in Alberta (2015-2017, increasing annually), Saskatchewan (first time in 2016) and Manitoba…

Idaho Potato Breeders aim to develop PCN Resistant Russets

Researchers in the pacific North-west breeding program harvested a special block of first-year clones on Sept. 29, screened for their ability to help the industry cope with a quarantined pest. The block contained a half dozen plants from each of 223 breeding clones resulting from crosses of Western Russet and Eden, a round Scottish variety with known resistance to potato cyst nematode. Material in the block has been screened for the presence…

Disease Watch: Late Blight

Late blight disease caused by Phytophthora infestans devastates potato foliage and tubers. The pathogen can survive between growing seasons as mycelium in potato tubers and plant tissues, and on alternative hosts of Solanaceae family. The pathogen may also overwinter as oospores in soil. Infected tubers used for seed or discarded onto cull piles or infected volunteer potatoes are sources of infection for the new growing season. In addition to potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant,…

From our Desk

Psyllids and Zebra Chip

University of Lethbridge biogeography professor Dan Johnson has been monitoring Prairie potato fields for the past few years, looking for evidence of the potato psyllid and a bacterium it can carry that can lead to zebra chip disease in potato crops. The good news: So far in 2017, the number of potato psyllids has been lower than in previous years, both in Canada and the U.S. The better news: None of the…

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